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Local TSA teams fare well at conference

Sentinel photo by Erin Thompson Mifflin County Junior High School students will advance to the state Technology Student Association competition at Seven Springs Resort after placing at the regional level. From left, eighth grader Penny Darerow, third place, flight; ninth graders McKenna Price and Vivian Russler, third place, technical design; ninth graders Jacob Underhill and Jared Taylor, first place, junior solar sprint. The state competition will be held April 10-13.

LEWISTOWN — A Technology Student Association team from Mifflin County Junior High School placed first at the Region 8 TSA Conference at Northern Cambria elementary and middle schools on Feb. 2, and two others made the top three.

Ninth graders Jacob Underhill and Jared Taylor took home the blue ribbons in the junior solar sprint category for their design.

The project required them to create a portfolio with several different items in, including drawings and sketches, time sheets, parts list and a write up on their design process.

Two other Mifflin County Junior High School teams also took home ribbons for their winning entries.

Eighth grader Penny Darerow placed third for her design in the flight category. For this event, Darerow had to create a plane out of balsa wood. The goal was to make the plane fly as long as possible before hitting the ground. A launcher that has a rubber band connected to it was used.

Ninth graders McKenna Price and Vivian Russler took third in the technical design category.

This competition had students redesign the center cup holders in a vehicle to help do away with the clutter that build up.

The teams will advance to the state competition at Seven Springs Mountain Resort April 10-13.

According to John McGonigle, Mifflin County Junior High School’s TSA adviser, the junior solar sprint team’s first place win was no easy feat.

Last year, the team placed third at the regional competition and second at the state level.

“The team really put a lot of effort into this redesign,” he said. “Coming back this year and taking first at the regional conference was the first goal they had. Now onto their second goal, which is (placing) first at this year’s state conference in April.”

McGonigle said students had the opportunity to develop valuable leadership skills that they will be able to take with them into the workforce.

“Some have aspirations of continue in the STEM field and this is a stepping stone in that direction,” he said.

Region 8 is made up of Juniata High School and Middle School, Parks Forest Middle School, Mount Nittany Middle School, State College High School, Richland Junior High and High School, Altoona Junior High and High School, Windber Area Middle School and High School, Conemaugh Valley Junior High and High School, Westmont Hilltop Middle School and High School, Northern Cambria Middle School and High School, Conemaugh Township Area Middle School and High School, Divine Mercy Catholic Academy, Bedford High School, Bishop McCort Catholic High School, Cambria Heights Middle School and High School, Purchase Line High School and Middle School, Central High School and Middle School.

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